This was my favorite Christmas present this year. There are a lot of words I might think about wearing on my arm on any given day.
But these are the words I chose. They come from Galatians 5:1:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand fast, therefore, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Beautiful words to me. And they have taken on new meaning for me this year. This journey through healing has been so loooong.
At Thanksgiving this year, God gave me a whole new roadmap for my forward movement through healing. There is so much peace and already so much more freedom and healing coming to me. I had gotten caught up for awhile in someone else’s formula. I hate formulas for healing, so I’m a little mad that I let myself get stuck for so long there. But forward…..
Since this new path is a path He laid out for me, and since He crafted it – for me – it’s actually working for me. Friend, please don’t get stuck trying to heal your trauma in some formulaic way that someone else made up. That’s not to say that we don’t look at the wisdom of some of the healing modalities (formulas) out there. Take the good and then leave the rest. God has a unique path to healing for all of us.
Trauma is like taking a beautiful crystal vase and slamming it down on concrete. It’s going to break. But every single one will break differently. Only God knows all the pieces and only He knows how to put us back together again into the beautiful masterpiece He created us to be in the beginning.
So these words – “For Freedom” – are a reminder to me to hold fast to every bit of healing that God HAS given to me so far. When everything looks dark it is so easy to just think it’s ALL for nothing, and to completely discount the years of work that I have done and all the places He has met me along this journey. I’m moving forward onto a new path with these new words as my reminder that, no matter how difficult the journey gets sometimes, I must hold to all the healing that I already have. No going back.
I’m not going back, but in moving forward down this new path, I am looking back to all that God has done this year. I do this every year in the twilight days of the ending year. I go back and I read through my journals to try to understand and remember how God has healed me the past 12 months. This is actually an offensive move against the hopelessness that marking another year in pain inevitably brings to me.
This year, I didn’t think there would be much to write down, to be honest. Like I said, I’ve been stuck for many, many months – more than a year – trying to do things someone else’s way.
But as I sat to read and reflect, I could see that God has actually done much in me this year. Both the battles and the victories have been quieter, but they are still there. And I am taking some time to look back and remember and mark the ways that God has met me and helped me this year.
My second favorite gift this year was one I got to give. It was a memorial box to our children to mark the times God has helped us in our family. One kid was lost a few years ago, terrifyingly so. Another was recently spared miraculously from a fatal accident. Our family has quite a few stories whose endings would have been tragic, if not for the hand of God. So we gave them a box to hang on our wall, with small reminders of these interventions from God.
God consistently commanded the Israelites to set up stones in memorial to Him, to remember what He had done for them, and so that they could tell their children of His works on their behalf. One of my favorite memorial stories is from I Samuel 7 when the Lord delivered the Israelites from the Philistines. I love this story because of the name that Samuel gave to the stone:
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.‘” 1 Sam. 7:12
Thus far the Lord has helped me.
And thus far the Lord has helped you. We would not still be here if He hadn’t.
So, friends…those of you fighting to stay in the battle and heal, and those of you walking next to someone and fighting with and for them…. Look back. Don’t just look ahead at the never ending road stretching out in front of you. Take some time to look back and see what God has done. And mark it somehow. Make a memorial to remember the ways God met you and provided for you and helped you in 2016.
For Freedom. It’s for freedom that He has set us free and it is for our freedom that He is setting us free.
Set your memorial for 2016 and then keep pressing forward. Keep battling that thing that doesn’t seem to have an answer. Keep pressing in and stay in the fight with me in 2017?
It’s for our freedom.